NICE has a change of heart over Celgene’s rare blood cancer drug

NICE has approved Celgene’s rare blood cancer drug, overturning a rejection last year due to the cost of the treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved Celgene’s Revlimid (lenalidomide) for use across NHS England and Wales as a treatment for the rare blood cancer myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

This overturns a previous decision last year to reject the drug after the regulatory body raised concerns over the £3,780 per month price tag, with Celgene subsequently offering more clinical evidence and proposing to cost share via a patient access scheme.

Carole Longson, director for the centre of health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “We know that lenalidomide is an effective therapy and are glad Celgene – who market the drug – provided further evidence on how well it works and also offered a patient access scheme.”

The agreement between NICE and Celgene will see the NHS funding the first 26 months of treatment, with the pharma company footing the bill for any further use of the drug by patients.

Revlimid is expected to be available on the NHS within three months and will offer a further treatment option for those with the rare disease.